Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Bjorn Again? I'm Not in His Class Yet, Says Nadal; Grand Display: Rafael Nadal, in Action Yesterday during His Straight Sets Victory over Nicolas Almagro, Has Conceded Only 25 Games on His Way to the Semi-Finals, a Record for the French Open

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Bjorn Again? I'm Not in His Class Yet, Says Nadal; Grand Display: Rafael Nadal, in Action Yesterday during His Straight Sets Victory over Nicolas Almagro, Has Conceded Only 25 Games on His Way to the Semi-Finals, a Record for the French Open

Article excerpt

Byline: Chris Jones

NO MATTER how loudly Rafael Nadal dismisses comparisons with the greatBjorn Borg, he cannot escape the fact he is on course to equal the Swede'sremarkable four-in-a-row French Open titles at Roland Garros.

Nadal thundered into a semi-final showdown with Australian Open champion NovakDjokovic on Friday with a ruthless 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 humiliation of Andy Murray'sconqueror, Nicolas Almagro.

While Borg played in a different erawooden rackets and a slower pace of tennis lifehe remains the clay-court icon everyone else is measured against in Paris.

But Nadal said: "Comparing myself to Borg, how could I dare do that? He was oneof the top three players in all the history of tennis.

"Everybody's talking about Borg as if he was somebody from another planet.

But Borg was Borg. He was not any different. When he was walking on the court,everybody felt he would never lose." Many feel the same about Nadal, who holdsa 7-3 career win advantage over Djokovic. Nadal has won all four of theirmatches on clay, although Djokovic is improving all the time.

Unfortunately for the 21-year-old Serb, so is Nadal.

The Spaniard celebrated his 22nd birthday by hammering compatriot Almagro.Nadal's victory was the most one-sided quarter-final in the open era and he hasconceded only 25 games getting into the last four, another best for thisparticular Grand Slam.

Even so, Nadal insists his name isn't already on the trophy. "There is no suchthing as a pre-written script before the tournament starts," he said.

"Anything can happen." Almagro was left with only praise for the impressiveNadal. He said: "Just congratulate him, wish him a happy birthday and wish himall the best for the rest of this tournament. Quite clearly we'll have achampion for many years here in Roland Garros." Djokovic had more trouble insubduing Ernests Gulbis, with whom he used to practise when they were barelyinto their teens. …

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